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In brief

Due to the pandemic and social distancing measures, employers and employees are making use of communication apps to convey changes in the work routine and even termination of the employment agreement. As a result, many lawsuits have been filed before labor courts challenging the use of communication apps for these purposes. Courts tend to validate communication made through apps under the argument that employment agreements do not require excessive formalities as to what would be applicable to employment termination, especially when it is possible to imply that the employee was unequivocally aware of the termination and considering that apps such as WhatsApp are a communication tool like any other.


Notwithstanding the relevance of the labor precedents on the subject, an employer must be cautious of the language used in the dismissal communications in order to avoid putting the employee in embarrassing and humiliating situations. Even though there is no legal prohibition on this form of communication, it must be based on good faith and urbanity that govern labor and employment relations.

In addition to being necessarily clear and fluid, such communications must also comply with reasonable and transparent use, in order to preserve the employee’s rights of personality and intimacy, under penalty of such non-compliance generating the duty to indemnify the victim, in view of the disrespect of the worker’s human condition.

It is also recommended that the employer adopt all possible precautions, observing the prudence and sensitivity required at the time, since the employee, as a rule, is in a state of weakness and emotional exposure, not existing to date a consolidated understanding issued by the Superior Labor Court.

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*In cooperation with Trench Rossi Watanabe, a Brazilian law firm.

Author

Priscila Kirchhoff is a Partner from Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados, Sao Paulo office.

Author

Clarissa Lehmen joined the Firm in 2014. She integrates the employment & compensation practice group, with focus on employment advisory, assisting companies in strategic matters. Clarissa has a wide breadth of experience in strategic matters, including defining and implementing strategies for labor matters relating to C-level executives, benefits harmonization, expatriation, outsourcing, due diligence audits related to Mergers & Acquisitions, retention schemes, Stock Options and negotiations with labor unions.

Author

Tricia Oliveira is a Partner from Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados, Sao Paulo office.

Author

Leticia Ribeiro has been recognized by the Latin Lawyer, Legal 500 and Client Choice Awards as a leading employment lawyer. Leticia joined the firm in 1998 and became partner in 2013. Frequently praised for her practical and business oriented advice, technical knowledge and creativity, over 20 years experience in advising clients on employment matters.

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